Man Utd signing ball-playing rock in Lisandro Martinez as stats show top transfer target should walk into team | The Sun

ERIK TEN HAG is on the brink of signing Lisandro Martinez – and the stats suggest he could be the answer to Manchester United's defensive woes.

The Red Devils got their pre-season off to a flying start with a 4-0 win over Liverpool, as fans shared their excitement at the Ten Hag era.

United played some superb, free-flowing football but there are still questions marks over their defence following a shocking 2021-22 season.

But the Old Trafford side are on the cusp of completing a £46million move for Ajax ace Martinez.

And the stats suggest the defender – who worked under Ten Hag in Holland – is the perfect fit the new-look squad.

The Argentinian ace, 24, is a ball-playing rock – exactly what the Dutch chief needs.


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Looking at United's current crop of Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof, Raphael Varane and Eric Bailly – he's going to be the first name on the team-sheet.

Last season, Martinez completed an impressive 87.7 passes per 90 minutes – miles ahead of United's current top-four options.

Maguire is second-best in passes per match at 61.3, with Bailly the lowest on 51.4.

Martinez also leads the way in tackles per match at 1.9, ahead of Varane (1.4), Maguire (1), Bailly (0.8) and Lindelof (0.7).

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Only Maguire (3.4 per 90) won more aerial duels than Martinez (3) last season – with the Argentine developing a reputation for being dominant in the air thanks to his huge leap and aggressive mindset.

Martinez is also miles ahead in terms of possession won per match.

The Ajax man regained the ball 9.1 times per 90 minutes, ahead of Bailly (6.6), Maguire, Lindelof (both 5.6) and Varane (3.8).

Martinez ranks last in clearances and second last in blocks, ahead of only Varane.

However, with Ajax storming to the Eredivisie title and United finishing the season closer to the relegation zone than the champions in terms of points, it suggests Martinez wasn't needed to clear up quite so often.

SunSport understands United are close to finalising Martinez's transfer to Old Trafford after making a breakthrough in their talks with Ajax.

Old Trafford chiefs previously offered £42m for the defender – just shy of the Dutch side's asking price.

Man Utd were also interested in bringing Martinez's team-mate Jurrien Timber to Old Trafford.

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But according to The Telegraph, Ajax are not willing to sell both this summer.

United have already raided the Eredivisie once this summer after signing left-back Tyrrell Malacia from Feyenoord.

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